Last Saturday (14 May) marked 10 years since we disembarked from our first ever cruise which was an Eastbound Transatlantic on Jewel of the Seas. I thought it would be nice to look back at our first impressions of what was a life changing experience.
At about midday on the 30th April 2006 we left The Ramada Inn, Fort Lauderdale bound for Port Everglades where we were to meet up Mrs W’s sister and parents on board the Jewel of the Seas. The cruise was a gift from Mrs W’s parents because basically they were just so eager to share the experience with us. Both were seasoned cruisers and it was their primary method of getting backwards and forwards to Florida where they had bought a home to spend their winters. It just so happens that the two times of the year when they come and go just coincided with the repositioning of ships from Europe to the Caribbean.
When we were initially invited to go we didn’t think it would be for us, there was much discussion and eventually we decided we should give it a go. So several months later when we finally arrived at the cruise terminal and got our first view of the ship we really had no idea how much our lives were going to change.
I recall that we boarded near the atrium and I was immediately taken aback by the size of this big open space in the middle of a ship. I also remember one of the bar staff trying to tempt me to buy a welcome aboard cocktail with a special souvenir glass. Some things never change!
After our initial astonishment we set off to explore what on first appearance seemed to be a huge vessel and we wondered how we would ever remember our way around. I was totally awestruck by the organisation and politeness of the crew, the cleanliness and immaculate condition of everything and just the whole set up on board the ship. We just couldn’t believe we were actually going to cross the Atlantic surrounded by such luxury. I marvelled at all the food on display in the Windjammer and didn’t (and still don’t) know what to put on my plate first. Thank heavens for the dining room where the portions are decided for you!
I think our only real concern was how we would react to the motion of the ship and whether we would fall foul to the dreaded sea sickness especially as we were going to be crossing the Atlantic Ocean with 5 straight sea days. The time was drawing close to when we would find out…..
Finally after we had set sail and were at sea for the first time, I remember being totally surprised how steady the ship felt. All sorts of notions go through your mind when trying to perceive what it would actually feel like. I never imagined that cruising would grip me the way it has. I just love being on a ship and at sea.
We have since cruised every year with the exception of 2008 and if time, funds would permit us to, then we would cruise even more. A world cruise is something we have considered in the future but for now I am just going to have to be content with a few weeks here and there. 😀
So 21 cruises later or to put it another way 201 nights onboard ship, can’t be all bad for our first 10 years of cruising. Here’s to the next 10 and lets hope there are no repeats of 2008.